The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
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Report on reintroduction of species draws on expert voices

EFRA Committee recommendations include a call for compensation and clarity on planning.

A House of Commons committee has published a report on species reintroduction which draws on evidence from invited experts, including a wildlife health and reintroduction specialist from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee report, Species Reintroduction, outlines its recommendations on updating current arrangements for reintroducing species in the UK.

The Committee recognises the value of reintroductions in promoting species and ecosystem recovery across the UK, while calling on the Government to introduce a compensation scheme for farmers and other land managers to mitigate the potential impact on livelihoods of the reintroduction of some species.

It adds that species should not be reintroduced and given protected status without a full long-term management plan.  

Species risks

The report sets out that a compensation scheme and national strategy for reintroductions is necessary to alleviate the concerns of farmers and other land managers who may be impacted by high-risk reintroduction projects. 

In the UK, animals such as beavers and birds of prey have been in the spotlight as examples of controversial reintroductions, but the Committee also heard that reintroductions of some other species such as plants, fungi, and insects frequently pose little or no risk.  

The Committee recommended that the Government, in tandem with the England Species Reintroduction Taskforce and Stakeholder Forum, draws up a list making clear which species are potentially high risk and which are low risk.

It also suggests clear target dates for improving biodiversity, management plans, and cross-government coordination, and that all proposals of potentially high-risk species reintroduction should be subject to a national, independent impact assessment. 

Consultation call

At the launch of the report the Chair of the Committee, Sir Robert Goodwill MP, called for a review of the protected status of beavers, and for wider, more transparent consultation on reintroductions of any other potentially risky species.

Reintroductions have become a valuable tool for restoration of wildlife populations and their wider ecosystems.

However, as the committee has highlighted, these projects need to be well thought through, with all relevant local consultation and risk management in place prior to the first releases.

A wildlife health specialist should be involved in project planning from an early stage, and a health risk analysis undertaken in parallel with other risk assessments and project planning.

Katie BeckmannLecturer in Wildlife Health & Conservation Medicine, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and member of the IUCN Conservation Translocation Specialist Group

Related links

Species Reintroduction - report summary

 

About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.

The School comprises:

The Roslin Institute

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Roslin Innovation Centre

The Hospital for Small Animals

Equine Veterinary Services

Farm Animal Services

Easter Bush Pathology

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education

We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.